Well hello. This week's post is simply something I wrote for a monthly contest in April 2006 when I was still a New Yorker, and it won the contest in February 2007. While enjoying a new Snickers Dark bar tonight I just realized, dear readers, that most of you have not read this.
The contest was for Recchiuti Confections in San Francisco, my favorite U.S. chocolate company (see link at right), and the prize was a glorious black box ($40 value, see left). When I never heard from Recchiuti after sending this in, I thought I didn't win and was like, hello? But as it turns out, they were saving my passionate letter for their Valentine's issue (copy-edited way down of course) and I received my black box while at USC and I think I may have shared, oh, 2 pieces. So here it is...my full-length chocolate missive, containing factual events and slightly exaggerated feelings (you'll never know how I truly felt, now will you ;)
My Recchiuti Confession – a true story, by Marly Miller, Brooklyn NY
I wasn’t looking to fall in love with chocolate. The only plan for my two vacation days in San Francisco before heading north was to unwind from the daily grind of New York living.
The Ferry Building’s a foodie mecca, hmm? That’s what the concierge said. Perfect! So I wandered over for a quick visit and you know how it works – when you least expect it, that’s when you meet your soulmate. That’s what happened to me in the Ferry Building that sunny June day. That’s when I met you, Recchiuti. You weren’t your average kind of chocolate shop, you. Reserved and subtle yet mysteriously beckoning, you were like a hip computer geek sequestering your passion, bestowing it only upon those who are worthy of your greatness. In that moment it was clear, I had to know you.
Our first moments together were rather dreamy. You had me at Fleur de Sel caramels. The emotional wave was carried forward with the honeycomb-design topped Sesame Nougat, then you sealed the deal with the Kona Coffee pyramid. I was elated! Even though we’d just met, I took you back to my hotel room where time passed in blissful discovery of your single-origin varietals. We had a beautiful night together, and then you were gone. Seriously, who knew it could be this good between a woman and her chocolate?
The next morning I wondered, how can it be that such a love exists, only so far from home? Figured the feeling would dissipate as I traveled up to the Culinary Institute, Greystone for a week of wine study. It wasn’t easy, though. I thought of you more often than Brix counts, and kept thinking things like, “If only you were here to pair with that great Pinot blend from Sonoma.”
One afternoon on St. Helena’s main drag I walked past a local chocolate store and sniggered in contempt at their confections braggingly displayed in the window. “Ha! So you think you’re a chocolate store!” Oh I did not betray you, my love, I did not yield to the temptation of another; my heart was yours! Okay, I did yield to a chocolate malted at Taylor’s, and a slice of chocolate marshmallow pie at Cindy’s, but please don’t accuse me of cheating! What’s a girl to do until she can get close to you again?! It was a shake and a dessert, not bon bons. No, never bon bons!
Days – ages – later, back in San Fran I couldn’t just skip through to the airport without saying goodbye. Not after learning the week before that no matter how much I loved you – and no matter how much you wanted me to love you – you in fact would not be moving to New York any time soon. So back to the Ferry Building I ran ever so nonchalantly to pick up some airplane sustenance – a hand-picked collection of all your caramels including the rose, burnt and limited edition passion fruit. While paying for my affection I pined, “But Scharffenberger is moving to New York!” You were resolute, “Sorry, there are no plans for us to open a store in New York at this time.” Fine! Fine. Didn’t take it personally. All I know is that’s when I knew I’d been living a lie and was actually one of those girls who chocolate settles. That all changed after I met you.
Back home in New York I couldn’t stop talking about you so of course all my friends couldn’t wait to meet you! I didn’t know how to spell you so it took awhile to find you on Google. Then I found you! *sigh* It felt a little better knowing that if I truly couldn’t live without you I could just order online. But shame on you, Recchiuti, getting me all crazy with those glimmering images of candy on the web, followed up by those awesome promotional postcards in the mail. Ahh, you were so close yet so far.
Life went on – it was a very vanilla existence – until a phantasmagoric trinity of luck was bestowed upon me that could only have been the result of answered prayers!
1) Inadvertently in Soho one day I found you at the candy counter in Dean & Deluca, my eyes ka-boing-ing upon seeing that very familiar circular disk with a honeycomb pattern on top – the Sesame Nougat! And a Kona Coffee pyramid was right next to it! No, Could It Really Be Recchiuti?? There were only a few bon bons for sale – you tease! – but I don’t believe in pride. That’s right, I bought you and we went to a movie (a chick flick). Our unexpected day together was quite bittersweet (literally). Yes that day renewed my love for you in full (not chocolate-related) bloom. When you were gone I wondered when I would ever see you again.
2) Weeks later a friend announced he was traveling to San Francisco. I grabbed his collar and pleaded, “Oh please you MUST bring me back some Recchiuti Fleur de Sel caramels!! And buy some for yourself, for I will not share!” Yes, I could have ordered online, but I really wanted my friend to meet you too. The following week he returned to New York… with a box of Fleur de Sel caramels with my name on it! Dang life was good!
3) If that wasn’t enough, Christmas was around the corner and some colleagues asked me a very silly question, “Marly, what’s your favorite brand of chocolate?” Like they didn’t already know, come on! I gently reminded them of you, hoping secretly they were not playing a cruel holiday prank and a week later you arrived in full glory! A box of Fleur de Sel caramels, a box of limited-edition chocolates and a S’mores Kit. Indeed it was an amazing day! We ran back to my apartment together and laughed and laughed, as that’s the effect of consuming mass quantities of natural-occurring amphetamines.
The season had evolved into a New York Recchiuti-loving girl’s dream come true! You, in several incarnations, were finally with me in New York, my Recchiuti-sweetened bloodstream giddily flowed as my unrequited choco-passion for you was finally sated. That Christmas was a testament to our ultimate compatibility – there was no turning back now! We were indeed soulmates and would definitely be sharing a very happy chocolate life together forevermore.